Bipartisan Bill Introduced To Delay Individual Mandate Penalty
On Thursday, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced a bill (S 1671) that would delay by one year -- to January 2015 -- a penalty on U.S. residents who fail to comply with the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, Reuters reports.
Under the ACA, most individuals who do not have health insurance by April 2014 would have to pay a $95 penalty (Van Hall, Reuters, 11/7).
The two lawmakers said their measure would serve as a reprieve for consumers who are facing difficulties purchasing health coverage through the problem-plagued federal health insurance exchange website.
In a joint statement, Kirk said, "Health care should not be a burden on consumers, which is why we must delay the penalty for individuals" (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/7). Manchin added, "This commonsense proposal simply allows Americans to take more time to browse and explore their options, making 2014 a true transition year" (Lesniewski, "#WGDB," Roll Call, 11/7).
As of Thursday, S 1671 did not have any other co-sponsors, but it is expected to gain support in light of the ongoing examination of the problems facing the federal exchange portal, HealthCare.gov, according to The Hill's "Healthwatch."
Meanwhile, the Obama administration in recent weeks has said that delaying the mandate is not under consideration ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.